Former Dallas Cowboys Running Back Joseph Randle Gambled on Sports in 2015
Former Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was gambling on sports prior to being waived by the Dallas Cowboys during the 2015 NFL season, according to the Dallas Morning News. The DFW newspaper cited four separate sources which said Randle “had been involved in placing wagers on sporting events during the 2015 season.”
Randle, who began the season as the Dallas Cowboys’ starting running back, was released from the team in early November. No NFL franchise picked up the running back off of waivers.
NFL Did Not Know of Gambling Habits
When contacted, sources in the NFL front office said they knew nothing about accusations Joseph Randle gambled on sports. If the troubled running back’s wagering was part of the decision, it was only one of a number of factors.
The Cowboys released Joseph Randle after behavioral issues and other signs of mental instability began to mount. The Dallas Morning News reports that Randle’s sports betting was just one of the reasons the team released him. At the Senior Bowl last week, Jerry Jones spoke about the timeline of events.
In relation to Randle’s bad habits, Jerry Jones said, “All of that became apparent to us right during the season. Not before the season. It became real acute, a combination of things. Some issues…became more apparent.”
Cowboys: No Evidence Randle Gambled on Football
Jones said he has no evidence that Randle ever wagered on NFL games, much less Cowboys games. When asked about NFL gambling, Jones said, “Not to my knowledge, not in any way.” Specifically, Jones said the team had no evidence Randle had, in Jones’s words, “compromised any Cowboys games last season.”
Jerry Jones elaborated on the taboo of gambling on sports in the NFL: “There are certain types of gambling that you can’t do as a player. Obviously you can’t be involved in…anything that we’re competing in, and I’ve never heard of anything like that.”
Dallas Cowboys 2015 Season
The Cowboys came into the 2015 NFL season as one of the league’s favorites to win the Super Bowl. Instead, the team had its worst season since Jerry Jones’s first season with the team, the 1989 season in which the team’s record was 1-15. The Cowboys also endured the team’s worst losing streak since 1989, losing 7 straight games from late-September to mid-November.
The team began the season with a great deal of hope. They were coming off a 12-4 season in which they won a playoff game and led late in the Division Round, ultimately losing to Green Bay after a controversial call went against the team’s star receiver, Dez Bryant. Jerry Jones brought in troubled, yet talented, pass rusher Greg Hardy from the Carolina Panthers. The Cowboys had the league’s best offensive line and stars on offense, along with an improving defense. Many picked the team to go challenge for the NFC Championship and play in the Super Bowl.
Not everyone predicted playoff success. Some critics argued the decision to let All-Pro running back Demarco Murray was a mistake. Demarco Murray led the NFL in rushing in 2018. His 1,800+ rushing yards were a Dallas Cowboys record — a feat for a team which has had Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith. Demarco Murray had a history of injuries and would have cost top dollars, so Jerry Jones decided to go another direction.
The Fall of Joseph Randle
That direction was Joseph Randle. The Cowboys added veterans Darren McFadden and Christine Michael, but Joseph Randle received the first shot at becoming the starter. Randle had been Demarco Murray’s primary backup. In limited action, Randle had shown running ability. Many Cowboys fans thought he was the natural successor to Demarco Murray.
There were signs Randle would disappoint the Cowboys’ faith in him. By the time he was being named the starter, he’d had several run-ins with law enforcement. During the 2014 season, Randle was arrested for shoplifting. When asked by the media about the arrest, Randle suggested the Cowboys should overlook his criminal record, because they overlooked Dez Bryant’s transgressions. Dallas fans and media scoffed at the idea Joseph Randle, a little known backup, was placing himself on the level of a star player.
Domestic Abuse Case
In the offseason betweeen 2014 and 2015, Joseph Randle was arrested again, this time in a domestic abuse case. He allegedly threatened the mother of his son with a gun, then was arrested when police found drugs on the premises. The sports media wondered at Randle’s bad decision making, because the arrest came 4 months after Ray Rice was suspended for the entirety of a season for domestic abuse.
The legal issues did not quell his confidence. When asked about replacing Demarco Murray after his 1,800-yard season, Randle implied he would do better, because Murray had “left a lot of meat on the bone”. Again, fans and journalists laughed at his lack of self-awareness.
Struggles as a Cowboys Starter
When the season began, Joseph Randle struggled to find running room. He had impressive individual runs in the Cowboys’ first two games, in which they went 2-0. But after Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were lost for half of the season with injuries, defenses were able to key on the run and shut down Randle and the other Dallas running backs. Randle was ineffective throughout October 2015, leading to the elevation of Darren McFadden to the starting position.
By that point, the RB’s on-field production was only part of the problem. The Dallas Morning News reports team officials were mystified by some of his behavior, such as a “mysterious” phone call to local police. Then Joseph Randle stormed out of the Cowboys’ facility after learning of his demotion.
When the team tried to get “outside help for his unstable behavior”, Randle refused that help. That seemed to be the last straw. Days later, the team waived their troubled young running back.
Since that time, Joseph Randle’s life seems to have spiraled out of control. He was arrested for assaulting a police office in a Kansas casino. The NFL and the NFL Players Association have tried to get help for Randle since his release, but he has refused all help or intervention. This past week, he was arrested for speeding and an outstanding warrant.
Joseph Randle could not be contacted by the Dallas Morning News for comment. When the Morning News spoke to Randle’s former sports agent, Erik Burkhardt, Mr. Burkhardt said he no longer represents the troubled player.